In the Infection Radar survey, the percentage of participants who reported possible symptoms of COVID-19 last week decreased compared to the week before that (7.3 to 6.7%). The number of Infection Radar participants who tested positive for COVID-19 also increased (rising to +1.8%) compared to the week before that.
The number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 reported to the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs) decreased (-7%). The number of people who were tested for COVID-19 by the GGD decreased significantly last week (-32.0%). The number of nursing home residents who tested positive for COVID-19 decreased last week (-18%).
On 20 December 2022, the reproduction number based on reported positive tests was 0,86 (0,76 – 0,97). The number of new hospital admissions of patients with SARS-CoV-2 rose sharply +59%) compared to the week before.
There were 63 people newly hospitalised as compared to 42 the week before. The number of new ICU admissions of patients with SARS-CoV-2 increased. There were 38 ICU admissions last week (+46%), compared to 26 ICU admissions the week before. The COVID-19 related mortality number remained same to 13 compared to the week before. The number of hospital and IC admissions reported last week (week 51) was most probably higher but underreported due to delayed registrations in the Christmas period. The actual increase in the number of hospital and IC admissions compared to last week may therefore be less dramatic.
In week 51 (19-25 December), sewage surveillance showed that the national average viral load increased compared to the week before (+33%). In the first half of week 52 (26 and 2 December 2022), it decreased by 21%. The Omicron BQ.1 variant and sub-variants were again detected most frequently in sewage surveillance. More recombinants (variants that combine properties of multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants) and Omicron BA.2 sub-variants were also detected, particularly BA.2.75 and its sub-variants, as well as recombinants such as XBB.
Virus variants from pathogen surveillance
Since early 2022, pathogen surveillance has shown that most of the variants of SARS-CoV-2 circulating in the Netherlands are in the Omicron lineage: sub-variants BA.1 through BA.5. Mutations are also emerging within these sub-variants. The same pattern is occurring in other countries.
With BA.1, BA.2 and then BA.5 initially dominant in The Netherlands, BQ.1 (including BQ.1.1) has been responsible for the majority of infections since week 48. At the same time, there is an increase in BA 2.75 and recombinant XBB (a variant combining the properties of several Omicron variants) There are currently no indications of these subvariants causing more serious symptoms than the earlier Omicron variants.
The latest figures point towards a prolonged dominance of BQ,1 in The Netherlands. The number of subvariants BA.2.75 and XXB is also on the rise, suggesting that various subvariants will continue to circulate simultaneously, with the possibility of new (sub)variants emerging as well.
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